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Council tax freeze and school uniform grants saved

£1.7 million of cuts to needy are scrapped in raft of budget U-turns

Published on March 1st 2012.


Council tax freeze and school uniform grants saved

LIVERPOOL City Council is set to freeze Council Tax, keep school uniform grants and scrap proposed cuts in funding for the homeless service, in a raft of budget U-turns. 

The cabinet will this Friday (2 March) be asked to agree the remaining savings needed to close the £50 million budget gap. 

However, around £1.7 million of savings options previously approved will now not be taken.  

The cash, according to the council, will be found through savings on rent on the controversial 08 Place and by not holding a referendum on an elected mayor. 

08 Place Liverpool08 Place: CostlyMore money will be clawed back by making changes in procurement procedures – how much is paid out on goods and services - and securing improved interest on cash flow. 

The vast majority of council tax payers who live in Band A properties (around 60 percent) will continue to pay £872.09 a year. 

School uniform grants will be retained (£20 primary/£40 secondary).

Household goods removal service Bulky Bob’s will remain free of charge

There will be no cut in funding in the budget for mental health accommodation

There will be no reduction in funding for substance misuse and homeless service.

The council says it has protected the most essential front line services and they only account for around 20 percent of the savings, even though they make up 72 percent of city spending. 

School Uniform Grants SavedReprive: School uniform grants It follows, according to Deputy Council Leader Paul Brant, “an open, mature conversation with residents, staff and business leading to more informed decision making”. 

The council was paying £20,000 to rent the Whitechapel building where the now-closed tourist information centre, the 08 Place, was located. The building also housed music promoter CMP, organiser of the Summer Pops.

The city managed to get out of the 10-year lease two years early – but had to stump up £500,000 to do so. Keeping the lease would have seen it having to find £1m of public money until 2014.

Council Leader Joe Anderson described the budget as “the most open ever”, adding:  “We have been working right up to the 11th hour to make sure the remainder of the budget cuts do not hit the most vulnerable.” 

“We have frozen council tax because I am concerned about the impact any rise will have on people already struggling due to unemployment, pay cuts and the current economic crisis.  

“A Council Tax rise would hit people in the pocket and also damages local businesses because they have less money to spend.” 

Leader Of Liverpool City Council Joe AndersonLeader Of Liverpool City
Council Joe Anderson
But the future is still far from rosy and Anderson warned: “Although we have managed to avoid some of the most severe cuts, there is no doubt that in some cases the delivery of council services will be affected. You can’t cut more than £50million of spending and not notice. 

He continued: “Reducing paperwork and administration costs means it may take us longer to do things, but I am sure people will agree it is preferable that we protect front-line services to children and the most vulnerable first.” 

Around £20 million in spending cuts have come from updating financial planning assumptions and reducing the amount of money set aside for contingencies and liabilities.

'Consolidating'

Other savings already approved include a review of the management and administration of children’s centres, which will see 16 becoming satellite centres, although the core services will remain at all of them.

Other options, previously approved, include “consolidating” the teams that help facilitate and deliver major development projects; introducing charges for advice provided to developers before they submit a planning application and combining the culture and tourism service.

In addition to the £50 million of savings which have been found for 2012-13, the council estimates it will need to find a further £21.6 million in 2013-14 and £39.3 million in 2014-15. A further £45.6 million will have to be found between 2015 and 2017.

The council will be asked to approve the proposals at its budget meeting on Wednesday 7 March.

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Gerry DoyleMarch 1st 2012.

The Council will save precisely NO MONEY by not holding a referendum, the treasury has already agreed to underwrite the cost of all the mayoral referendums taking place. This is just another lie on top of the lie that we would somehow get extra money from the Government in exchange for moving straight to a Mayor.

Remember that one? Joe Anderson claiming a big win for the city, a few million extra and all we had to do was give up our democratic rights. What a result.

Of course 24 hours later Nick Clegg and the local government Minister revealed the claim to be total crap, that, in fact, we wouldn't be getting a penny that wasn't available to other cities - referendum or no.

This pattern of duplicity seems to becoming the norm, we've also had ridiculously overblown estimates of what a referendum would have cost as a further spurious justification for Joe Anderson's blatant power grab.

To make matters worse it seems there wasn't a single member of the Labour Party in the entire city with the guts to challenge him for their party's nomination so instead we got a backroom coronation. In fact Anderson is already acting as if he expects a second coronation in May.

So there we have it, a 'like it or lump it' election with a 'like it or lump it' candidate. The level of contempt displayed for ordinary Liverpool people is breathtaking.

The thing is, I really don't expect anything better from local politicians in Liverpool. Their recent dishonest conniving is just par for the course. What really annoys me is that journalists who should have our interests at heart can't be arsed to do some basic fact checking, or even challenge some of the most blatant untruths that we're being fed.

Uncle BuckMarch 1st 2012.

What about Lady Buck?

Michael ComerMarch 2nd 2012.

What about those of us who arent band A ?
See Mr Kemp has put himself forward for the Mayors post. No wonder he was making good comments about the city no go areas

Gerry DoyleMarch 2nd 2012.

I think I also said something about lazy journalists reprinting press releases as fact without bothering to check. That seems to have been edited, did I tweak somebody's conscience?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Staff
Angie SammonsMarch 2nd 2012.

Not sure what you are talking about Gerry. I replied to your comments last night and that's disappeared too. I did say something about yours being very valid points and how we never reprint any press release verbatim. In the case of this one, we took the facts from it and qualified those other points we felt had been presented as fact. As we always do.

I also made the point that Confidential is far from being on the council PR department's list of preferred suppliers when pumping out its message and that's, frankly, the way we like it. It's often better on the outside for all manner of reasons.

If you would like me to reprint the press release as we received it, I am more than happy to do so and you can see the changes we have made. A bit like journalism class, if you like.

Make your own mind up about the rhetoric, or otherwise, in the story. That's for you to comment on, not me.

What a shame you spoiled your arguments by trotting out the phrase "lazy journalism", arguably the laziest cliche of all.

Darth FormbyMarch 2nd 2012.

Gerry Doyle do you work for Herbert?

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